The last day of the month is a good time to check in with oneself. In my second journal entry here (The Greening), I mentioned my goal of finding the place where I can do the most good. Am I any closer to that place?
In some ways, no. This past month has been frustratingly stagnant in terms of making progress towards identifying my vocation. Yes, it is somewhere tied up with my study of religion. Of that, I am confident. And as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I do not doubt my identity as a seeker. As a seeker I am comfortable with the uncertainty and ambiguity of life. As someone who also wants to be a living testament to the seeking path and to use what I learn to help others, I feel that I need some identifiable career goal.
What job am I being called to perform?! People ask me what I plan to do with my religion studies, and, reasonably so, expect a rational and finite answer from me. Well, at one point, I pointed to chaplaincy in a hospital context (for which a M.Div. is required, for those who questioned why I was looking at accredited divinity schools, as opposed to any academic religion program). In the back of my mind, there's always the lure of librarianship at the university-level, for which a second masters would suit perfectly. Then there's the possibility of continuing beyond the masters level to become a university professor and teach religion. Then I discovered that some schools offer dual religion and counseling degrees, which opened up a new possibility.
The truth? I have no idea where I'll end up after the next academic year.
Perhaps the need to have an identifiable professional vocation goal is a symptom of the money-making, mainstream job market mentality that is all around me right now. But I am looking for a satisfying job that will allow me to cultivate a spiritual life that is healthy for me and which will benefit others. Those kinds of jobs do not tend to be high-paying. Nor are they advertised like nursing or engineering positions.
Perhaps I will need to craft a niche for myself in the world. I may need to customize a living out of more than one job. Maybe the non-profit sector is where I should focus. Maybe I should still continue towards the chaplaincy training, especially since it is the one career that has pretty strict requirements, but remain open to other possibilities along the way. What does that mean? It means I need to make peace with ambiguity!
This summer seems to be stretching on forever. Even as I make sure to enjoy the things that are unique to an unburdened summer in the mountains, I also want to make real steps on my path…something more concrete than reading books. I find myself looking forward to the over-planned days that will keep me hopping after August 17th. By August 18th, I know full-well that I'll be regretting that!